Qatar Estimates 400 to 500 Migrant Workers Died from World-Cup Related Construction

Qatar Estimates 400 to 500 Migrant Workers Died from World-Cup Related Construction

“What I will say is one death is a death too many. Plain and simple,” Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Hassan Al-Thawadi said in an interview with Piers Morgan.

An estimated 400 to 500 migrant workers have died from World-Cup-related construction since Qatar won the bid, according to one official.

In a discussion on Piers Morgan Uncensored on Talk TV, British Broadcaster Piers Morgan asked Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy Hassan Al-Thawadi about the number of migrant worker deaths “from any construction related to anything to do with the World Cup” since Qatar won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 in 2010.

His answer: An estimated 400 to 500 workers, though the exact number is "being discussed.”

“What I will say is one death is a death too many. Plain and simple. And I think every year, the health and safety standards on the sites are improving—at least on our sites, the World Cup sites that we’re responsible for—most definitely to the extent that you’ve got trade unions, representatives of the German Trade Union, representatives of the Swiss Trade Union have…commended the work that’s been done…on the World Cup sides and improvement.” Al-Thawadi said in the discussion.

“I think overall, the need for labor reform in itself dictates that yes, improvements have to happen. And just so we’re clear, this was something that was recognized before we bid. The improvements that have happened isn’t because of the World Cup. These are improvements that we knew we had to do because of our own values, improvements that had to happen…,” he continued.

Al-Thawadi also said that there have been “three work-related deaths and 37 non-work-related deaths” for the “stadiums and projects that we’re responsible for.”

What prompted the discussion on migrant worker deaths was the claim from a 2021 article that 6,500 migrant workers had died since Qatar won the bid. Morgan called the number “deeply misleading,” as it represented all migrant deaths “of any cause” since the bid announcement.

The last FIFA World Cup was held in Russia in 2018. A report from the Building and Wood Workers International stated that there were 21 fatalities, many from workers falling from heights or equipment falling from heights and landing on a worker.

Photo credit: Noushad Thekkayil / Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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